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BErKaNa: Growth. Rebirth. Birch Tree.

small, beautiful things

October 21st, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dearest One @ 11:09 pm

Emotions: happy happy

It was a great, full day, starting off with playing, then haircut (first one!!!), breakfast downtown with Daddy & I, a wander around after.

We napped together today, too, which was great.

N took the day off to hang out with Maeve (and me, too, I s'pose). She loved the little table and chairs we got her, and the little shopping cart. I'm happy about our used purchases. We also gave her some sustainable wood animals, some books, some stickers, a couple stuffed animals. It was more than enough. There were so many presents, it seems (family and friends, too), but I think that comes with the fact that one gift goes so far -- at two, you have to play with anything you open immediately, so gift-opening can take all day.

And it does. And that is fine. I mean, breaks to play with bubble wrap are very, very key to birthday enjoyment, no?

Maeve also had a park date with Emily, and N and I gardened the whole time she was gone. I'm sore as all get-out, but the buddha garden is beautiful now (and fully mulched), and all the pots are filled with flowers again. We've scattered a few more statues and plaques thru the yard, and the feeling is room-like and homey. Things are really shifting back there and coming along. I'll need to finish taking some pics and put them up on Flickr. Soon, we'll have a new redwood fence built, and more places to plant. We both (sort of) dream of a hottub in the new area...we'll see.

Tonight we took M for sushi, and she got to try her first mochi for dessert, to our great amusement. She wasn't quite sure about the rice paper outside, so licked the ice cream in big slurps from the middle. Silly.

So, let's see. Maeve turning 2 was a pretty damn good day, all around. I am a little melancholy...more pensive, I guess, at the nature of the beast of birthdays tracking time. Two years so fast, so fast.

Ah, yes, her doc's visit went swimmingly yesterday. Developmentally, she's surpassed all the marks, and he's pretty delighted with his interactions with her. She's now 19 lbs. 6 oz and 35.24" tall. Wee big girl! Doin' her own thing, her own way.

October 20th, 2008

And so it goes... @ 10:40 pm

Emotions: thoughtful thoughtful

Two years ago tonight I made a most excellent Thai pumpkin curry that was pretty damn spicy and had our neighbors over to dinner.

I started having contractions after dinner, but thought they were prolly due to being tired etc. But damned if they didn't kick right back in, all regular-like the next morning.

Two years already...two years tomorrow.

*shakes head*

Off to bed to snuggle the birthday girl who's taking up all the room, but none of the covers.

October 19th, 2008

Maeve's Movin' on Up @ 09:42 pm

Emotions: pleased pleased

In bath tonight, Maeve asked what one of her floating letters was. "W," I said. "Oh. Wilwyim!" she responded.


She's getting the alphabet down, it seems. She knows the beginning of it in order, then like to call out snippets as it comes to her, often mimicking the sounds of how multiple letters flow together (you know, like elemenopee). She loves* her "ABC noonuls" from Trader Joe's -- especially identifying the letters before she eats them. And boy howdy, how she eats them. Definitely her mother's carbo-child. :)

That said, she's still really digging her veggies and nearly ate her weight in persian cukes tonight (I put a little rice vinegar with a smidge of sugar melted in it it on the cucumbers, then usually some sesame seed). She recently picked out all the cooked red bell peppers from a dish I made -- so she could eat them first. Broccoli still is highly favored, as is cauliflower. Bring on the asparagus; at least the tips. We're pretty lucky that she's mostly interested in everything. Fruits are the best, however, in her estimation, even the fuyu persimmons I love so much. Seriously, I have to consider all my meals fair game, and come to peace with the fact that I prolly will only get to eat 3/4 of a serving.

As far as language goes, it's odd. We no longer marvel over every separate word she learns (although Heidelberg was a good one), but her understanding of the concepts attached, and the stories she tells with them. When we recently discussed that we're going to have a birthday party for her, she told me, "Wear a hat? Like BG. Birthday." And I figured out that the party she went to with her dad last month featured party hats for the birthday boy, BG, and for the guests. Then she asked about cake. So, she's got some birthday expectations down. She also can sing (in tune) the first few lines of the birthday song...smiling secretly to herself while she does it.

The singing is fun, too. Lots of fun little snippets of songs you can recognize (Frosty the snowman, ABCs) and then ones she just makes up in happiness. Is a bit familiar...

We're so enjoying that she can tell us what she needs and wants and that the tantrums now just come from being tired, or not aligned with what needs to happen (i.e. going to bed), instead of not being understood. She loves the ritual of call and response (N sneezes, she hollers "Bless you, Daddy!) and I give her something, "Nank you, Mama," and if I don't respond, "Welcome, Mama."


She has little quirks now, too. Hates to have her sleeves or pant legs hiked up...like knit jammies stuck around the calves. She immediately stops and adjusts. If I'm holding her or nursing her, she says, "Please, Mama fix! This one, too," pointing to the second as I adjust the first.

Her imaginative play has gone in overdrive. Baby dolls are wrapped up and cuddled and danced with. Apologized to if dropped. Conversations had with dinos, stuffed animals and babies alike. Today she was using the aspirator to "snot snuck" the boogies out of all her Fischer Price Little People's noses because they were all sick. Including the farm animals. Ha!

She loves to cook in her kitchen and make plans for the meals. The other day, she took a couple bowls with their lids, uncovered them, "poured" food in them ("Soup!") slurrrping to taste, then put lids back on for Daddy to take "to work, tomorrow." "Daddy get it tomorrow, eat. Save it now," she told him. She watches us, and she stores it. Regurgitates with her own flair when she's ready. Scary.

All in all, we're worn out by 9 every night. :)

October 8th, 2008

Here we go 'round and circles... @ 07:46 am

Emotions: amused amused

Yesterday, Maeve did her first somersault. She'd been watching Christopher, the 6-yr-old neighborboy wonder with the scrawny body of Mick Jagger doing flips on our lawn for about a week. Then, when her pal, Lila (3), was visiting and was doing little head-down things...and did *her* first somersault, Maeve put her head down, and pushed herself straight over. Cool! She was very pleased.

Yesterday was also our first visit to the local library. Sounds awful, but our libraries here are sadly shite. No one gives $, they are old, blah blah... Anyhow, we were donating a bunch of books, and I decided we *should* check out the kids' section. They had a big play rug with three beanbag chairs and some HUGE stuffed animals, so Maeve ran over right away and started hugging the large giraffe. Soonly two 5(ish)-yr-old boys joined her and started flumping and flopping on the bean bags in great boy style. Oh, the love she had watching then mimicking them. I went over to say something to her, and thought, "uh-oh, better change her diaper..." when one of the two rapscallions says to the other, quietly (as they are piled on top of each other), "Tanner, did you fart." [Much giggling] "YES!"

Ew. I cleared out and left Maeve to fend for herself. :) The girl's gotta figure out on her own if she wants to hang with stinky boys or not. Heh.

Right now, she's sitting in a little stroller in the play room saying, "Ahm a WORK! AHM a'WORK, Daddy! Driving. Me driving!"

Before I know it, that may be true.

September 29th, 2008

Fire! Shark! @ 11:59 pm

Emotions: amused amused

Wow, that's a lot to get one going at 7 am.

But there we were...me changing the first day's dipe, and Maeve gazing at the last vestiges of the sunrise through the window.

She exclaimed to me, "Fire, Mama!" and pointed toward the magnolia across the street. I saw bright pink clouds behind the tree...yes, fire, I see that.

Then, "Shark! Shark! Swoosh in air!"

I look again, and damned if one of the other clouds wasn't shaped like a shark.

Not quite believing it (I mean, she's not even two, and this is the cloud-gazing game, right?), I asked her, "Where's a shark? In the water?"

"No, Mama. Sky! Clouds." (more swooshing sounds and pointing.) A few minutes later, she looked again and said, "All gone."

Later, we were in the back room, and she was looking out another window. I noticed that today's teeny storm was clearing, leaving us with some near-buttermilk skies. I asked Maeve what the clouds looked like.



"Yesh. (assertively) Baby poop."

I had nothing to ask after that.

September 21st, 2008

Baby needs nummies @ 10:05 pm

Emotions: awake awake

IMG_2430.JPG, originally uploaded by DigiGirl.

I...I just don't know what more to say about this. She's a little girl/baby/woman at this point, and I am just trying to breathe, breathe, breathe through all the energy and wonder and discovery. One month from today, she turns two.

And, she cracks me up.


September 19th, 2008

sleepy MEMEage @ 09:07 pm

Emotions: calm calm

* take a picture of yourself right now
* don't change your clothes, don't fix your... just take a picture.
* post the picture with NO editing.
* post these instructions with your picture

September 3rd, 2008

Heard Around the Casa Today... @ 08:30 pm

Emotions: amused amused

a wee maeve voice from the back room, "Ahhm cooking. Come n' eat!" (amidst much stirring and movement).

and, tonight, after i managed to change out the neko case cd to the bajofundo cd, *while cradling and nursing her*, "good job, mommy!"

ha! thanks, kid.


August 28th, 2008

Brought to you by the letter "Q" @ 09:42 pm

Emotions: bouncy bouncy

Ms. Thing was drawing her usual circles and squiggles today when she looks at me and points to something she just drew.

"Mama, Q!"

And indeed, it was.

And it was good.

(Is this how it's going to be? Because this learning thing is FUN! She's not even TWO yet and it's just So. Much. Fun.)


Now, we are nearly packed and ready to go on zee impromptu camping trip up at Huntington Lake. Yippeee! Have not been there since *I* was a child. I have very distinct, delightful memories of watching the tinfoil packet in the fire pit steam, then watching my father open it...and then partaking of the amazing, amazing trout.

Well, that, and him washing me in the freezing cold stream. Some things need no repeating.


August 27th, 2008

On How Tango Fusion Saved the Environment @ 05:06 am

Emotions: contemplative contemplative

In the last several months, call it, Maeve has been in a phase (please gods, let this be true) where no amount of reading, rocking, bathing, singing or nursing will entice her to let go of the day and slide into dream state. At first I spent a couple hours every night, sometimes trading off with N, trying every trick in the book, often getting frustrated, and finally also falling asleep exhausted with her somewhere around 10 p.m. Made for fun times the next day to be sure.

We'd long known that she'd fall asleep fairly quickly in the car -- oftentimes just when we'd get to where we were going -- running errands or attending a function, of course. So finally, I gave in. Five to 10 minutes in the car (ok, ok, occasionally a half hour), just seemed a far preferable way to deal with ushering her into much-needed sleep. And it saved me from diving into some of my least-stellar parenting moments, for which I was grateful. Thus began The Nightly Drive.

And although I can appreciate the appeal of being strapped down, listening to your favorite toonz in a decibel level that is counter-intuitive to slumber, yet remarkably effect in inducing just that, for me, pocket-book and environmental impact notwithstanding, this just seemed like "the wrong way" to get my little one to sleep. I wanted to nurse her, rock and watch her drift off like days of yore -- not bop my head to the millionth repeat of "The Little White Duck" or "Here Comes the Dino5."

Sure, it gave me time to pop in my headset and give far-flung friends a call. It gave me time to explore local neighborhoods that I'd not seen previously, and heck, I even learned more ways around Ventura than I'd thought possible. Still, though seemingly the best solution, The Nightly Drive plagued me in subtle ways.

Then recently arrived the time of year where our local NPR station, KCRW, came a'beggin' for money. Love them, love their shows, so I called in one morning and pledged some hard-earned gelt, and for my good "support public radio" feelings I also received a free CD. Bajofondo: MarDulce to be exact. We received said new music this last week, and I popped it in the player in the kitchen to test out -- Maeve has extremely discerning and commanding (er, demanding) taste, often directing which CDs should be played when -- and we immediately were enchanted. Much dancing and happiness had by all. Excellent. A new gem to add to heavy rotation.

A couple days later, with a cranky child resisting naptime, I popped the CD in, picked her up, and said, "Put. Your. Head. Down." She did! I started dancing with her in the kitchen to the beat of the music, and voila, before the first 5-minute track was complete so was her transition to sleep! Holy Grail of Slumber!

Of course, I'm a jaded parent, so I reckoned it was a one-shot deal. However, the next day, repeat performance. And, the next evening after that. We're in the middle of day 5 or so of dancing Maeve to sleep, and it's working nicely. Usually we have to go to track two...but still, 10 minutes isn't bad.

What I've noticed in this new routine is how much happier I am holding her as she drifts off, in her most vulnerable state of being. She falls deeper, more quickly than she did in the car, for the most part. And when she doesn't, hell, we're dancing in the dark, with the whole world asleep around us. When she does start to let go, I can feel her 20ish lbs become heavier and heavier, her little paws -- at first beating a subtle rhythm on my shoulder and neck or petting my hair -- releasing, releasing into their first sleep twitch. Her legs and torso, at first active and giving off little random bounces in response to the music, gradually unfold and flatten against me, again into little leg twitches that signal to me that I can walk back to the bedroom and lie her down.

I love the smell of her, the "sure of you" feeling she exudes with her arms wrapped around me. I love seeing (using the oven door as a mirror) her lips get fuller and relaxed as she drifts off. I've noticed that my body, while supporting her weight in odd position, aches and pains in ways at 4 am that it doesn't during the daytime nap. I know now that I can cut quite the rug at 4 am...and again at 5:30 if the first one doesn't stick. I can feel the heat of her, knowing that the fevers she's experiencing from teething (and the pain) is probably why we are doing these crazy waking hours. I know that I am capable of fixing (at least right now) what's wrong in her life with a multitude of tools at hand -- and this feels really, really comforting.

I know that soon enough she won't want me to hold her anymore, let alone hang out with her. That it's going to go so fast my head will spin.

So for now, when she wakes like she did this morning at 4 am, asking, "Dance? Diaper, change, fresh?" I'll groan and try to convince her to go back to sleep, but in a minute or so, will take sign her wee dance card and head to the kitchen for a little tango and closeness. In the hushed twilight, we'll spin and rock and sway -- and I'll be grateful that she always saves the last dance for me. :)

BErKaNa: Growth. Rebirth. Birch Tree.

small, beautiful things